Second journalist being questioned over Mugabe bomb story: Lawyers

2016-04-08 15:16
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Harare - A second journalist was taken in for questioning in Zimbabwe Friday over a story about a man convicted of trying to bomb President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace's dairy, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said.

Malvern Mukudu of the Zimbabwe Sentinel, an online news website, was summoned to Harare Central Police station, a day after his colleague Earnest Mudzengi was questioned for eight hours over the same story, the organisation said.

Using the hashtag #journalistsundersiege, ZLHR tweeted: "It's high noon in Zim as ZLHR lawyers accompany journalist Malvern Mukudu to Harare Central Police."

The Sentinel story quotes Owen Kuchata, who was jailed for nine years in February over his part in a murky plot to bomb the Alpha and Omega Dairy plant in Mazowe, north of Harare. Kuchata is reported to lead an opposition party called the Zimbabwe People's Front, which was unheard of before the allegations of the bombing attempt first surfaced. Many still believe the plot was linked to succession battles within Mugabe's own ZANU-PF party.

In the story that the police are interested in, Kuchata told the Sentinel that his party would hold demonstrations to force Mugabe to step down.

Police insist Mukudu is a witness in the case, as Mudzengi was, according to their lawyer, Gift Mtisi.

Mudzengi was also questioned over the operations of the Media Centre, which offers a space for journalists to work -- and network -- in the capital. Mudzengi is the director of the centre.

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